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Why Go To Hot Springs, AR

Nestled in Arkansas' Ouachita Mountains about 55 miles southwest of Little Rock, Hot Springs serves as a beacon for outdoor enthusiasts and relaxation seekers from around the country. A network of springs inspires the town's name and attracts a majority of its visitors. In fact, these thermal waters have beckoned travelers for thousands of years, starting with American Indians. Today, visitors flock to the town's Bathhouse Row. Hot Springs' naturally heated springs are protected as part of Hot Springs National Park, but the city and the park are intertwined in such a way that visitors may feel like they're staying in the park itself.

While Arkansas may not immediately come to mind when travelers think about dining, entertainment and shopping, the modest town of Hot Springs also checks all those attractions off the list with its casino, water park and wide variety of restaurants and boutiques. Meanwhile, the city's rich history and unique buildings delight amateur (and professional) historians and architects. Still, the main reasons to visit are to bathe in the town's namesake hot springs and revel in the surrounding wilderness.

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Best of Hot Springs, AR

Hot Springs, AR Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Hot Springs is August to October and February to April. Many of the attractions in and around Hot Springs revolve around the water, so travelers will be most comfortable visiting during the warmer months, when drying off won't immediately induce shivering. Still, given that Arkansas is located in the balmy south, there are several acceptable months to plan a trip. Subsequently, the shoulder seasons are the best time to visit, as travelers can experience the dual pleasures of saving money and basking in the sun.

Weather in Hot Springs, AR

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See details for When to Visit Hot Springs, AR

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

  • Prepare for rain Most visitors experience some rainfall during their visit to Hot Springs, so remember to pack a waterproof coat and check the forecast before heading out on the trail.
  • Rent a boat Numerous eateries and attractions are accessible through the waterways surrounding Hot Springs, so renting a boat offers an entertaining and efficient way to explore the area.
  • Plan out alcohol consumption While bars and restaurants serve alcohol daily from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., Arkansas prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sunday.  

How to Save Money in Hot Springs, AR

  • Explore outside Hot Springs' various outdoor attractions, including the Garvan Woodland Gardens and Lake Ouachita State Park, are all either cheap or free, making them budget-friendly options for visitors.
  • Visit during the shoulder season Fall and spring provide more manageable prices than the busy summer, but simultaneously boast some of the area's summer heat.
  • Camp Instead of staying at one of the city's many hotels, travelers hoping to save a dime can opt to sleep in either Hot Springs National Park or Lake Catherine State Park.

What to Eat

The Superior Bathhouse Brewery uses the city's namesake springs to brew beer, which patrons can enjoy from the brewery's location in a historic bathhouse. If you aim to do more than drink your calories, Superior Bathhouse also offers a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches. Travelers hoping for a more upscale evening can opt to dine at fine dining establishments, including Luna Bella and 501 Prime. For a classic American lunch with a modern twist, past visitors suggest you stop at Cafe 1217, which serves everything from fish taco wraps to smoked turkey melts. Travelers hoping for a taste of Arkansas' abstract barbecue flavor will enjoy learning that Hot Springs claims three spots on the Arkansas BBQ Trail: McClard's Bar-B-Q, Mickey's Bar-B-Q and Stubby's BBQ.

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Getting Around Hot Springs, AR

The best way to get around Hot Springs is by car. The small Memorial Field Airport (HOT) sits adjacent to Hot Springs, but most out-of-state travelers opt to land at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) in Little Rock. From the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, visitors can rent a car from one of the many on-site rental companies and drive 55 miles southwest across Arkansas from Little Rock to Hot Springs. You'll need the car when exploring Hot Springs as public transit throughout the town, and Arkansas as a whole, is relatively scarce.

Photos

Hot Springs, AR1 of 21
Hot Springs, AR2 of 21

The thermal waters of Hot Springs National Park attract travelers from around the world to Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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